A racing year that took the couple to the Preakness might end with a Breeders' Cup appearance for Arkansans Alex and Jo Ann Lieblong.
The Conway residents own Wicked Whisper, who has punched her ticket to the Grade 1 $2 million Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies Nov. 1 at Santa Anita Park in Arcadia, Calif. Winning the Grade 1 Frizette on Sunday at New York's Belmont Park also gave Wicked Whisper 10 qualifying points for the 2020 Grade 1 Kentucky Oaks on May 1 at Churchill Downs.
Setting comfortable fractions down the backstretch, Wicked Whisper scored by 2 3/4 lengths with a fast-rated mile in 1:35.92. She paid $7.90 per $2 win ticket.
"She relaxed good and was able to have a little extra in the last part," said Joel Rosario, riding the winner for Hall of Fame trainer Steve Asmussen. "There was a lot of speed. I was going to break and see; if someone went, maybe [I'd] lay second or third. She had nice cruising speed right away and I just decided to go on with her.
"Every time I asked her, she was there for me," Rosario said. "It was her first time going a mile, so you just want something for the last part. She responded and just kept going. The more I asked, the more she was going. She looks like she's real spirited and looking around and enjoying herself."
It was a one-two finish for Arkansas-owned fillies with Frank's Rockette second, 3 1/4 lengths in front of Slam Dunk in the field of seven. Hall of Famer Bill Mott trains Frank's Rockette for central Arkansas automobile dealer Frank Fletcher, the Into Mischief filly also placing second in Saratoga's Grade 1 Spinaway at seven furlongs.
Wicked Whisper came off a debut victory by 6 1/4 lengths Aug. 25 at Saratoga with Ricardo Santana Jr. aboard. The Lieblongs have earned $269,500 with the Liam's Map filly they purchased for $500,000 last fall at Keeneland. The couple's Union Rags colt Laughing Fox placed fifth in the Preakness, for which he qualified automatically winning an Oaklawn Park stakes race.
About the Breeders' Cup and Wicked Whisper, Asmussen assistant Toby Sheets said, "We're going to enjoy the moment and go from there and take it one step at a time. She's a very nice and classy horse. She does everything correct. All I said to Joel was she's classy and 'good luck.'"Sports on 10/10/2019
Print Headline: Lieblongs' filly earns BC invitation